Changing of the Guard – Are Sky Sports losing their grip on being the best?

When everyone thinks of watching football in the UK they have been accustomed to switching on channel 401 on their television remote and tuning into live, extensive coverage from Sky Sports.

However there is now a case that Sky are losing the battle in being the most superior sports channel, with its biggest rivals, BT SPORT building a suitable challenge.

For me, a Sky Sports subscriber, I have been watching football with the broadcasters for as long as I can remember. Other sports channels have for years attempted to thwart SKY’s stranglehold as the dominant channel, but have all struggled to keep up with the money that their rivals have thrown at the teams around the country, mainly the English Premier League.

It wasn’t until 2013 when SKY Sports finally had someone they could consider a “genuine rival” in the world of broadcasting. That rival is BT SPORT. The bosses at BT launched programming of their new channels on August 1st 2013 and immediately “stamped their authority” on the television industry by announcing that as of the 2015/16 season they would own the rights to broadcast European football’s premier club competition, the UEFA Champions League. The deal, reportedly in the region of £900m was even too high for the “great” SKY SPORTS and asks serious questions of how Sky can recover from such a catastrophic loss. It would appear that the writing has been on the wall for Sky for some time. An example of this would be the viewing figures of last season’s Champions League Final. In the UK alone, just under 500,000 people saw Barcelona V Juventus, a third of the audience figures from the previous final a year earlier. This capped off a miserable year for SKY and even their sports chief admitted that it was their worst season ever for audiences.

The rise of BT Sport opens a new door in how people can view their football. Many would argue that the attention to detail given to each match is considerably better from the BT punditry team than it is SKY. SKY still holds all of the cards when it comes to coverage of the English Premier League, with

BT only allowed to show 38 live English Premiership games, with none any of them involving games between the so called “Big 4”. However SKY have launched a series of adverts recently that have tried to showcase the viewers on what to expect on their channels. The English Premier League is the biggest prize that SKY possess, however BT will undoubtedly be looking to close the gap over the next few years and it appears to be winning the battle.

Matthew Findlay

Twiiter - @Matt_Findlay19